Research shows that excessive screen time can be detrimental to our children’s health. Certain kinds of technology, however, used mindfully, have the power to support children’s and parents’ mental health. Have you or your children ever used meditation apps or listened to music designed for relaxation? If you want to learn more about music and technology that promote mental health, read on for some picks that might excite you and your family…
Weightless- by Marconi Union
This piece of ambient music was specifically developed to promote calm and relaxation, and is often used in therapists’ offices. Research suggests that this track is so effective that it might be able to be used as an alternative to a sedative prior to some kinds of surgery. Check it out and see what you think. Can you notice your heart rate slowing and your body relaxing? Warning: don’t listen to it while you are driving.
Other music picks
Research shows that nature sounds and other types of ambient music are also effective for relaxation. Check out Brian Eno or Steve Roach (a Tucson local) for some more ambient music selections. Find recorded whale songs, or rain, wind, or other nature sounds on your favorite music app or on YouTube. You can also find drumming tracks and other types music designed for increasing focus and attention. Try out as many as you care to explore and find something that works for you or your child.
A large body of research shows that journaling can promote mental health. Some teens and older kids enjoy keeping a journal online. Journal apps can help track and reinforce your progress, and send you reminders to journal, if desired. Some apps, like the app Penzu, have encryption built in to protect your privacy. If you or your child want some ideas about what to write, check out our blog on therapeutic writing…
There are many meditation apps available, some of which are free to use, such as Insight Timer. Other popular apps include Headspace and Calm. Many apps have a special section for kids. Some meditation apps include bedtime stories for children (and adults!) that can help you fall asleep. Other tracks include guided exploration of feelings, mindfulness meditation, self-compassion practice, and forgiveness practice. If you or your child have never meditated before, meditation apps can be a great way to begin. There are many benefits of meditation for both mental and physical health.
Video Games Designed for Mental Health
Video game addiction is real, and often the best antidote is to work collaboratively with your child or teen to develop a balanced lifestyle that includes exercise, social time, rest, time for reflection, time outdoors, etc. Some health professionals believe certain kinds of video games developed specifically for mental health can have beneficial effects. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first therapeutic video game, EndeavorRx, in 2020. It is designed for kids with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This game is reported to help improve attention, but is not a replacement for other types of treatment like therapy and medication. As with all technology, it is important to monitor use and ensure it doesn’t interfere with a balanced lifestyle.
At Intuition Wellness Center, we specialize in health and wellness services for children, young adults, and their families. If you think you would like some extra support, we’re here for you.